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Connecticut Construction Industry: Clarify Purview of Proposed Green Building Legislation

We’ve commented extensively here at gbNYC on proposed state- and local-level green building legislation. One consistent critique we’ve had is that many pieces of legislation have either left key green terms undefined or failed to accurately and comprehensively articulate how the legislation will be implemented.

These considerations are critical given that (according to USGBC) 100 state-level, LEED-driven green building bills have been introduced here in 2008, with 18 actually taking effect. Connecticut’s construction industry recently voiced these types of concerns with respect to proposed legislation that would mandate LEED Silver certification- or its “equivalent”- for public and private sector projects over $5 million. The legislation would take effect on January 1, 2009, with the dollar threshold dropping to $2 million the following year.

Industry representatives are concerned over the legislation’s ambiguity, pointing out that there is no definition or guidance within the legislation with respect to what an “equivalent” rating to LEED might be.

While it’s important that legislation emphasize the ultimate building product rather than the process through which the building is made sustainable, it’s equally important that legislation be drafted carefully with a consideration of each potential permutation, from the preemption application now playing out in New Mexico, to other legal ramifications that may be triggered in the absence of applicable appeals and sunset provisions.

A hearing on the Connecticut legislation is planned for sometime this fall, though no specific date has been set.

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